With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting various events around the world, and many opting to go virtual, the Hong Kong Literary Festival is no exception. Marking its 20th edition this year, the literary festival, like many other events, will be held in a flexible online format which allows people to join at the comfort of their homes.
The festival will be managed by a new Executive Director, Catherine Platt who hopes that the festival will be an “uplifting event that brings people together to hear their favourite authors and discover new voices and ideas.”
The theme this year is ‘Present Tense/Future Perfect’ and the events will explore in fiction and non-fiction how the world is responding to issues such as health, inequality and climate change, as well as possible future directions for humanity and the planet.
Platt believes that events such as the Hong Kong Literary Festival serve as “second responders” during the pandemic where they provide fun and engaging events that promote mental health, while first responders tend to our physical health.
Going virtual has also meant that the festival will be able to bring in a wider range of literary artists. The line-up includes two 2020 Booker Prize longlisted authors, Colum McCann and C Pam Zhang; Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan; Pulitzer Prize winners Jhumpa Lahiri and Jonathan Kaufman; poets Marilyn Chin and Mary Jean Chan; and journalists Ananth Krishnan, Bob Davis, Lingling Wei and more. There will also be a group of Hong Kong and regional writers and speakers including Chan Koonchung, Dorothy Tse, Kai-Yin Lo, Christine Loh, Elizabeth Sinn and many others.
Other festival highlights include a series of book talks and film screenings at the Asia Society, featuring Kevin Kwan, Benjamin Law, and Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee discussing her book, Be Water My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee.
See also: 10 Books About Hong Kong By Hongkongers